• KAWASAKI, JAPAN - APRIL 06:  A large pink phallic-shaped 'Mikoshi' is paraded through the streets during Kanamara Matsuri (Festival of the Steel Phallus) on April 6, 2014 in Kawasaki, Japan. The Kanamara Festival is held annually on the first Sunday of April. The penis is the central theme of the festival, focused at the local penis-venerating shrine which was once frequented by prostitutes who came to pray for business prosperity and protection against sexually transmitted diseases. Today the festival has become a popular tourist attraction and is used to raise money for HIV awareness and research.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Greece ‘phallic celebrations’ vs. Japan’s ‘penis parade’ (warning phallic images!)

Dionysian Bourani older by one millennium

The penis is a symbol of fertility in many cultures. Many people in Greece have heard of, or even visited the unique ‘phallic’ custom called ‘Bourani’ in the region of Tyrnavos near the city of Larissa in central Greece. It involves people drinking and eating till they faint, and using large plastic penises and profane songs of language throughout the duration of the Dionysian-style celebrations. Although not as old as the Greek custom, which is rooted in ancient Greece and honours the God of wine and debauchery Dionysus, Japan also has its version of penis celebrations going on every year since the 1970’s in the city of Kawasaki. The story is rooted in a 17th Century myth according to which a sharp-toothed demon hid inside the vagina of a young woman who wedded two men. On both wedding nights, the demon castrated the men by biting their pensises off. The young woman sought help, which came from a blacksmith who made an iron phallus. The demon bit down on the phallus and broke his teeth, and was thus vanquished. The phallus was subsequently enshrined. The phallic festival has grown recently and is used to raise money for Aids research. The parade takes place every first Sunday of April.

 

Japan’s penis parade

KAWASAKI, JAPAN - APRIL 06:  People pose for photos in front of a large pink phallic-shaped 'Mikoshi'  during Kanamara Matsuri (Festival of the Steel Phallus) on April 6, 2014 in Kawasaki, Japan. The Kanamara Festival is held annually on the first Sunday of April. The penis is the central theme of the festival, focused at the local penis-venerating shrine which was once frequented by prostitutes who came to pray for business prosperity and protection against sexually transmitted diseases. Today the festival has become a popular tourist attraction and is used to raise money for HIV awareness and research.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

KAWASAKI, JAPAN - APRIL 06:  A man poses for photographers with a large wooden phallic sculpture during Kanamara Matsuri (Festival of the Steel Phallus) on April 6, 2014 in Kawasaki, Japan. The Kanamara Festival is held annually on the first Sunday of April. The penis is the central theme of the festival, focused at the local penis-venerating shrine which was once frequented by prostitutes who came to pray for business prosperity and protection against sexually transmitted diseases. Today the festival has become a popular tourist attraction and is used to raise money for HIV awareness and research.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

A couple hold candy in the shape of phalluses at the Wakamiya Hachimangu Shrine during the Kanamara Festival in Kawasaki, a suburb of Tokyo on April 3, 2016.  More than 20,000 people gathered to enjoy the annual festival which Shinto believers carry giant phalluses through the streets. / AFP / TORU YAMANAKA        (Photo credit should read TORU YAMANAKA/AFP/Getty Images)

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Greece’s phallic celebrations

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  • Mona

    Thinking of a penis as a symbol of fertility is proving that one knows nothing much about fertility. Sperms by themselves cannot create a fetus. Female ovocytes however, can evolve all by themselves into a viable human being.